Skeletons, Dry Land, Oath, Thewelis & Gareth Edwards top Ed Film Fest Awards
Once in a while comes a film that has me looking fearfully at the clock, worried it will end soon, not wanting to leave the world it creates. With the word on the street that the team behind Skeletons - Britain's answer to Being John Malkovich - have a number of sequels in the back of the closet, I have a little hope that this might not be the end of Bennett and Davis. Indeed today's news that the team have picked up the Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival today is most promising. By far the freshest, funnest and best looking British film I've seen in a very long time*, perhaps since Ben Hopkin's cult and rarely-seen Nine Lives of Thomas Katz and I really hope it gets a better release than that film so we can see the psychic Kim and Aggie return to the trenches. Allegedly.
[*Four Lions and In The Loop are obvious candidates as well, but neither have such cinematic production design, photography and locations]
The Film Festival press release follows the trailer and a brief scene from the opening of the movie.
The winners in six competition categories for feature films were announced at an Awards Ceremony prior to the Closing Gala of the world premiere of THIRD STAR. The awards were presented by EIFF Artistic Director Hannah McGill and Patrons Tilda Swinton and Seamus McGarvey on the penultimate day of the Festival at Cineworld. The winners are:The Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film, sponsored by the UK Film Council
SKELETONS – Directed by Nick Whitfield
PPG Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film
DAVID THEWLIS in Mr Nice
Projector.tv Best International Feature Award
THE DRY LAND – Directed by Ryan Piers Williams
Moët New Directors Award
GARETH EDWARDS for Monsters
Best Feature Documentary Award
THE OATH – Directed by Laura Poitras
Standard Life Audience Award
GET LOW - Directed by Aaron Schneider
This year’s Michael Powell Jury were actor Sir Patrick Stewart who presided over the five-strong Jury: director Mike Hodges; film curator Laurence Kardish; director Rafi Pitts and actress Britt Ekland.
The Jury citation read: “The Michael Powell Jury, having considered the eleven films in competition for the Best New British Feature Film, is pleased to announce two unanimous decisions. A Special Mention to Edward and Rory McHenry for their animated revision of modern British history, JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL, and the Michael Powell Award goes to writer/director Nick Whitfield whose debut feature SKELETONS best exemplifies the spirit of Michael Powell in its original vision and dark humour.”
On awarding David Thewlis the PPG Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film, the Jury cited: “The Michael Powell Jury is pleased to announce it has unanimously decided to present the PPG Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film to David Thewlis for his energetic and electrifying performance as Jim McCann in Bernard Rose’s feature MR NICE.”
David Thewlis commented: “This is a thrill and totally unexpected, and made all the more special by being honoured by one of my favourite cities in the world. Thank you.”
Lizzie Francke, Senior Production Executive with the UK Film Council, sponsor of the Michael Powell and Best British Short Film awards added: "The UK Film Council’s support for Edinburgh's film festival and the Michael Powell award underlines our commitment to promote and nurture new British film talent. Nick Whitfield's Skeletons is an imaginative and touching debut film and winning the Michael Powell award confirms he is a talent to look out for. And in looking at new talent coming through short filmmaking, Daniel Mulloy's Baby proves he is a writer/director with enormous promise."
The Projector.tv Best International Feature Award was deliberated by a Jury of three: comedian/director Ben Miller, actor Jason Isaacs and producer Lynda Myles.
The Jury citation read: “The winner is THE DRY LAND. We thought this delicate and emotional film took a subject that could have been predictable and explored it with a refreshing subtlety of characterisation, with universally beautiful performances and with a respect for the audience’s intelligence that made it not only a superbly told, gripping and relevant story, but a natural and unanimous winner.
We’d also like to commend two other films that gave us an enormous amount of pleasure locked, as we were, in dark rooms all day during the longest unbroken stretch of Edinburgh sunshine on record: For transporting us with a magnificent aesthetic flair, for its hypnotic cast and for creating an entirely believable world of monstrously amoral hit men that, despite ourselves, we all wanted to hang out with, we commend the epic landscape of SNOWMAN’S LAND.
And for giving us 2 hours of unbridled snorting laughter with a bucket-load of soppily embarrassing feelgood tears thrown in for good measure, we commend the unalloyed good time that is BARRY MUNDAY.”
The Moët New Directors Award was deliberated by a Jury of three, and their citation read: “The very high standard of the competitors for the Moët New Director's Award made the selection process as difficult as it was pleasurable. There were, for all of the jurors, four stand-out films. We would like to give special mentions to NOTHING PERSONAL, SON OF BABYLON and WINTER’S BONE. And we give the award, which acknowledges both ability and potential, to MONSTERS and its maker Gareth Edwards, whose extraordinary talents we confidently expect to see a great deal more of in the years to come.”
EIFF Artistic Director, Hannah McGill said: “We have had a tremendous festival experience this year, and it's a particular pleasure to close with the world premiere of a film as beautiful, idiosyncratic and moving as Third Star. I warmly congratulate all of our award-winners, as well as the generous supporters of those awards; and I thank the wonderful people on our juries for their enthusiasm and dedication.”
The Documentary Jury citation read: “The jury found themselves faced with a difficult choice between two very different but oddly complementary films. We would first like to make a special mention: of Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's RESTREPO, for its visceral intensity and unflinching honesty. But in recognition of the complexity and subtlety of its storytelling; the brilliance of its conception and execution; and the presence of an authorial voice that is strong without being didactic, the jury awards the EIFF 2010 Best Feature Documentary Award to Laura Poitras for THE OATH.”
All feature film winners also received a personalised magnum of Moët champagne, and attending the ceremony in Edinburgh to receive their awards in person were: Nick Whitfield for SKELETONS, Ryan Piers Williams and America Ferrera for THE DRY LAND and David Thewlis for MR NICE.
The EIFF 2010 Short Film Awards
Presented at a ceremony on Tuesday evening in Edinburgh, went to:
UK Film Council Award For Best British Short Film
BABY – Directed by Daniel Mulloy
Best International Short Film Award sponsored by Steedman & Company
RITA – Directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza
Scottish Short Documentary Award supported by Baillie Gifford
MARIA’S WAY – Directed by Anne Milne
McLaren Award for Best New British Animation in partnership with BBC Film Network
STANLEY PICKLE – Directed by Victoria Mather
Short Film Nominee Edinburgh, for the European Film Awards 2010
MARIA’S WAY – Directed by Anne Milne